Skip to the content

John Mothersole, Chief Executive of Sheffield City Council, announces retirement

John Mothersole
John Mothersole

Chief Executive, John Mothersole, has today announced that he is due to retire at the end of 2019.

John joined Sheffield City Council in 1998 to take up the role of Executive Director for Development, Environment and Leisure and then in 2008 became Chief Executive, where he has led the council through a decade of unprecedented change.

His retirement message is a reflection of how hard the decision to leave the council has been for him.

John said: “I have been in this role for over 11 years and it has been the best job of my life. However, nothing goes on forever and when you get to a certain stage in your career, and a certain age, the question of when to stop does become a matter of “when” not “if”. I have therefore decided that now is as good a time as any and so I plan to retire at the end of this calendar year. I know that the success of this council is the product of the efforts of everyone who works for it and with it and of the councillors who are elected to it. I will look back on my time working with the council with great fondness and affection.

“Over the next three months I will be working with my council colleagues to hand over my responsibilities and to ensure there is a smooth transition to whoever replaces me in this role.”

The journey to the position of Chief Executive was an interesting one for John having started out as a labourer in a Foundry in Blackburn in 1977. At 18, John took himself off to university. Now back in Blackburn in 1982, with a degree and unemployment at an all-time high, John was ‘rescued’ by the Manpower Services Commission, as it was called then, and offered funding to run a community centre on a council estate. John has been in continuous work ever since which included working in community arts and arts development roles in Camden and Newcastle.

He’s proud of the achievements that the council has made; the city centre’s ‘Heart of the City’ transformation, the raised profile of Sheffield nationally, Children’s Services being rated ‘good’ by Ofsted and that these have all been achieved within the constraints of the marked effect that austerity has on everything the council does. He’s just as proud of the fact that the council has continued to keep its ambition throughout and that it is continuing to work towards its ambitions.

Councillor Julie Dore, Leader of Sheffield City Council said: “John has been an outstanding Chief Executive, leading his council colleagues through times of great success for the city and through this difficult time of austerity faced by councils up and down the country. I will miss working with him and the support, dedication and commitment that he has given to the council. We all wish John a long, happy and healthy retirement!”

Councillor Penny Baker, Interim Leader of the Liberal Democrats Group said: “Sheffield has been extremely lucky to have had John as our Chief Executive. It has been a pleasure to work with him and he will be difficult to replace. I wish him a happy and long retirement.”

For more information please contact Deborah Varney, on 0114 205 3546 or email